The room is a mess; crumpled, dirty clothes and unopened envelopes (mostly from the dreaded bank) almost entirely obscure the polished wood floor. The one chair, a broken-down and rather sad-looking wicker affair, is piled high with washing and unwatched DVDs. An empty mug is balanced on top, where it remains only due to the power of prayer. The dirty white walls are almost bare. Why decorate somewhere you’ll only be for a year? The overspill from the bookshelf is piled up against the wall, rather precariously, and is used, like anything else, as a makeshift table. At the moment, it has an empty bottle of wine and a packet of American cigarettes on it, but who knows? Maybe one day I’ll move them.
To get to the window, you would have to climb over the creaky, unmade bed, but if I were you I wouldn’t bother. The view is of a residential street enclosing a small grass square with a neglected playpark in the centre. This square is bordered by a highish metal fence with peeling black paint and some of its uprights missing. Outside the square, cars are parked nose-to-tail along the road (though I have only rarely seen anyone drive one away, or park) and the huge bins are overflowing onto the pavement.
Outside, it’s quiet. People don’t seem to walk down here much. In the distance, I can hear a train go by, and the cheers from a football stadium that I did not know was so closed when I moved here. An old woman in a long, expensive-looking black overcoat strides past me, dragging along a tiny dog on a short lead. She looks at me and scowls slightly but doesn’t slow down, even when her dog pauses to sniff my legs. Poor dog.